Defrakturization of Erstes Deutsches Buch just about done

Sunday, February 01, 2015

I've just about completed the defrakturization of this book:

as you can see here.

This book is from 1880, and is one of those books that uses the 'natural method', one that uses the target language only and builds in difficulty as the reader goes. I'm not entirely sure whether this book can be made into anything useful in the modern age, but I had a few days sitting somewhere without wifi for a few hours each day and decided to type it out. Still has quite a few typos.

I'm not sure whether the book would be best left to its own because of the historical interest, or modified and expanded a bit into something more useful for modern German learners. That would mean taking out the -e Dativ in most places, plus the part where races are used to explain colours.

I think my favourite part is where they use Grab to explain the difference between Akkusativ and Dativ. You put someone in the grave (Akkusativ) for their eternal rest, and they lie in the grave (Dativ) to rest. The grave is always cold, always dark, etc. etc. They really talk about the grave a lot in this book.


In Korea for a bit, better-than-Hubble Ceres resolution very soon

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Apologies for not writing for quite some time but I'm in Seoul at the moment where I've been for a week. Sometimes in life you just have to rush off and cross the Pacific to watch a musical. Any guesses which one it is?

In the meantime Dawn has obtained the better-than-Hubble images of Ceres and will be releasing them probably tomorrow. As for what's coming up next we have the following:

Feb 4, 2015 | OpNav #3 | 148,000 km | 68 pixels | 2.2x Hubble resolution
Feb 12, 2015 | Rotation Characterization #1 | 84,000 km | 116 pixels | 3.7x Hubble resolution
Feb 20, 2015 | Rotation Characterization #2 | 48,000 km | 226 pixels | 7x Hubble resolution
Feb 23, 2015 | Closest Approach | | Begin high-phase Approach
Feb 25, 2015 | OpNav #4 | 39,000 km | 264 pixels | 8x Hubble resolution
Mar 2, 2015 | OpNav #5 | 50,000 km | 205 pixels | 6.5x Hubble resolution
Mar 6, 2015 | Capture| | Capture into orbit
Apr 10, 2015 | OpNav #6 | 33,000 km | 300 pixels | 9.5x Hubble resolution
Apr 15, 2015 | OpNav #7 | 21,000 km | 470 pixels | 15x Hubble resolution
Apr 23, 2015 | Rotation Characterization #3 | 13,000 km | 20x Hubble resolution

The reason for returning to 6.5x Hubble resolution is the odd but brilliant maneuver Dawn is undergoing to reach orbit at the same time as planned before in spite of losing a reaction wheel. It involves flying a bit past Ceres, then letting itself get captured, then swinging back in a long elliptical orbit that it will then change into a more proper one for surveying and mapping.


25-pixel Ceres photos to be released on January 20th

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The picture for navigation that Dawn took on the 13th (or around the 13th) is going to be released very soon. I'm exceptionally glad to see that the time this time around has announced the release date ahead of time instead of just making us wait as was the case with the Vesta approach.

Dawn is also a little more hobbled this time around (but still okay) so navigation photos are taking place every two weeks or so instead of weekly.

In the meantime we also have some news on Ceres from ground-based observations, a study suggesting that there is a lot of short-term variability of water ice on the surface. It was released a month ago, about the last time such a study would be useful since we are now right on the verge of being able to confirm or deny this.

Dawn is now closer to Ceres than our moon is to us.


Infinity Challenge (무한도전) effect on Korean music

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

A few days after this post we're seeing the results of 무한도전's show this and last week. Top downloaded songs on Naver right now are dominated by the singers that made an appearance:

The ratings were fantastic as well.

And, to top it off, MBC has quickly put together a 90s music program that will air on the 9th of January at 11 pm, and every week after that.


Infinity Challenge (무한도전)'s 1990s music gala and what it means to Korean music in 2015

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

I don't watch a great deal of 무한도전, but their last episode of the year turned out to be a particularly revealing one.

Just to explain what the program is about before I begin, it's a group of comedians that go around doing...things every week based on a single theme. One week they will play a game where they play a kind of city-wide tag (something like The Fugitive), another one they will be dressed up as Marvel super heroes (I forget why for that episode), etc. A little bit like those 5- or 10-minute parts of late night shows like Conan O'Brien where he'll do something like deliver Chinese food, except it's a full hour and a bit in length, and a lot more people.

And it's also a really popular show.

So now that the introduction is over with, here's what this week's episode was about: an event where they recreate one of the music programs from the late 1990s, programs like these:

with the singers themselves who are now somewhat older and long since retired (most of them). The idea was to have them each perform a few of their songs, dress up in the exact same clothes as before, film it in the same way (like with the sudden 180 degree camera rolls), basically recreate the whole thing in as close to a time machine feel as one can get. They rented out a hall for that, the same size that one sees used at all the other weekly music programs, so something for about 600 people, then told viewers to submit their names if they wanted to get a ticket to the event.

Surprisingly (to them), some 75000 people applied to get tickets, so only one in twelve got to see it in person. Yu Jaeseok (유재석) said they had underestimated the interest and after doing it were sorry to all the others that wanted to come that couldn't.

After that the program aired, Infinity Challenge got the highest viewership they've seen this year:

and next week's episode where the second half of the concert takes place will certainly have a larger viewership, as there is a lot of excitement about what they did after the first half aired.

What makes this interesting: careers in the Korean music industry are generally quick, fiery, short-lived things. Lots of training goes into groups which are then carefully put together by record companies, they release a few albums, and then a few years later are gone. They disappear because 1) the record company sees sales and interest start to decline, and 2) they get 'old'. Old as in mid-20s or so. So the record companies focus their energies on new and up-and-coming groups, and the rest are tossed to the wayside. For the most part, in any case.

This is where the sudden interest in this program has come from, since cutting the lives short of these groups just five or so years into their debut means there is still a lot of fan support for them. This support / interest isn't obvious at first glance because when a major record label drops its support for a group they will more or less disappear from view, even if they attempt to maintain a career afterwards, and fan interest alone can't keep a group alive. It's why a lot of former starts will be seen playing at nightclubs since they will pay fairly good money for an 'old' singer.

And by old, well...this guy is 38:

(don't forget they're using the same style as before, so they don't dress like this in 2014)

And these girls are around 34.

And here's one of their members in 2011 without the 90s garb (apparently couldn't make it this week due to pregnancy):

So old here is like figure skater or gymnastic champion old. Not actually old.

(Come to think of it, I wonder if Tsunku and his never-ending group Morning Musume are to blame for a lot of this singer recycling in Asia or if he was just following and expanding on an existing trend.)

When I started learning Korean in 2001 a lot of these singers were still popular but in the latter half of their short careers, so about half of the singers in this episode were really familiar to me. 김건모 was in one of the first Korean textbooks I ever bought, SES was still popular in 2002 during the World Cup when I lived in Korea long-term for the first time, and I had an 이정현 album or two in 2001 to listen to in the car when driving from school to school in rural Kyushu.

So what will this do? I don't believe it'll change much in the industry, but I think for the next few months we're going to see a lot more of these events both within and outside of Infinity Challenge and similar shows. Maybe a large event over a day or two or three in a few months at a much larger venue attended by people in the tens of thousands (remember 75,000 wanted to see them this concert they broadcast this week), and perhaps a new album or two by groups that have been out of the limelight for a long time but whose members really want to release another album again.

Even though this has never been my favourite kind of music (see the link two paragraphs above for what it is), if a sudden surge of interest in these groups causes a bit of a rethink in how long careers in the industry last and what old truly means, then I'll be happy with that. We'll see soon enough whether next week's culmination of this project and whatever folllows results in the tremor, however minor, in the Korean music industry I'm hoping to see.

Also, here's the show itself - no idea how long the video will last but it's still up as of today, at least.


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